Sunday, February 5, 2006

Jesus

I was posting my Devil's Advocate on Naba's Sex Post area this morning, and a few more thoughts occured to me, in regards to his last question. So I am putting them here, as well.

I find Naba's last question to be very intriguing.

Also, along those lines, do you think it is necessary or appropriate for a Christian to tell someone engaged in pre-marital sex his/her view on it?

(For matters of argument, I am assuming that the fornicators in this question are non-christians because it would be a different issue if they were brothers and sisters, or would it?) Matters of sin should be brought up with as much love, truth and compassion as possible-- stressing how the cessation of the sin would bring joy and life instead of pointing out how much judgment and condemnation the sinner deserves.

We just studied John 4 in Naba's home group (and I thank all of the participants for the rich discussion we had that allowed the following thoughts to crystalize in my mind), and it is a wonderful example of how Jesus dealt with a woman's sexual peccadillos while dealing with the more pressing issue of her spiritual thirst.

Here's a breakdown of their conversation. Note that he doesn't say, "you whore, you bad bad bad girl, you slut, you nasty person or you dirty wench" at any time.

1) Asks her for a drink (a physical need)
2) Offers her "living water" (now talking about the spiritual)
3) Explains that "living water" is eternal life. (she wants some of that living water)
4) Asks for her husband. (loaded question, she says she doesn't have one)
5) Reveals that she has had five husbands, and that her current man isn't her husband. (a nonjudgmental statement of truth) She then tells Jesus that he is a prophet and asks him about which holy place to worship (the real burning question).
6) He tells her that it doesn't matter where you worship, but how. She tells him that she is waiting for the Messiah to reveal everything.
7) He tells her he is the Messiah. She bolts to her village to tell them that the Messiah has come. According to vs 39, "many from the Samaritan village believed he was the Messiah because of her report..."

It seems from this that his goal wasn't that she feel bad about her behavior, but that she should discover the "living water" and spread the news to her village. I'd imagine that she'd figure out on her own that she doesn't need the current man, or maybe she'd marry him, but that doesn't even seem to be the thrust of the story because the very next thing Jesus talks about (vs 35) is about harvesting, and that is exactly what the woman did.

Every life change I have made as a Christian has come about because I realized that the sin was a poor substitute for what I really wanted. I also have a loving and supportive Christian community that genuinely cares about my well being and knows who I am. I also am exposed to teaching and the Bible, which helps to point the way. But the real change happens in my heart, not because someone is pointing a finger and saying that I am doing dreadful things, but because Jesus is changing my reality. If we are talking to non-christians, then we need to find a way to slake their thirst through Jesus. Every religion has behavioral restrictions, that is not what makes Christianity special. My challenge is to connect people to Jesus, and then they can dialogue with him and figure out what they need to do. (Now I am wondering how that is done!)


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Epilogue

Life is very funny and now I am thinking I shouldn't sound off on any thing sexual (or spiritual) any more. No sooner had I hit the "publish" button than the phone rang (and was feeling quite pleased with myself, by the way), and it was my very good and sexy friend Fan Boy, who being generally in Boston doesn't present much carnal temptation. As I was talking to him, I was thinking how much I'd rather be snuggling with him instead. Then when I hung up the phone, the reality of what I was considering juxtaposed with what I just wrote hit me like a ton of bricks.

Trying not to be a Flaming Hypocrite

So now I am trying to think about Jesus. Fortunately, Jesus is a happy thought. (I don't mean that glibly, either) Rather, Jesus is the happy thought.

Further Thoughts

Jesus.

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